SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
by Charity R. Bartley Howard
If you are looking for a camp experience for your child featuring the great outdoors with many programs, you can find it on nearly 360 acres of rolling hills and woodlands at Camp Anokijig in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
Camp director Jim Scherer explains, “Anokijig is an Native American word that stands for ‘We Serve’ and that is the basis for all we do. Our banner is new friends, positive values, personal growth, great adventures and of course, outrageous fun.”
The camp is wrapped around Little Elkhart Lake in the Glaciated Kettle Moraine Forest are about 45 minutes north of Milwaukee—and has been since 1926. Scherer adds, “We have a long proven track record of running a camp that is a nurturing center for your children.” He describes Camp Anokijig as a safe place for campers where they can grow in skills and socialization.
According to Scherer, this overnight resident camp for youth 7 to 16 is one of the largest camps in Wisconsin. He believes it is due to their reputation and “because we offer somewhere in the neighborhood of 99 different programs.” Programs include jewelry design, rope courses, go-carting, sports, drama, Irish dance and yoga. A complete list can be found at Anokijig.com.
Freedom to choose
Camp Anokijig provides nine weeks of sessions beginning in June and ending in August. Each session lasts a full week or, for the mini-camp, three days per week. This camp presents a different spin on a camping experience because campers have so much freedom to choose their activities.
Scherer tells Parent USA City, “A lot of camps are very structured so the kids will spend the day with their cabin mates and the staff selects the activities.” Instead, Camp Anokijig lets campers make choices for themselves with guidance from staff.
A broad range of activities are available including adventure programs with trips, “kayaking up on Lake Superior or white river rafting. We have specialty programming at camp where the kids for example focus on horseback riding or fishing and really get some in-depth activities in that particular area,” the director explains, adding the camp also provides day trips.
The specialty camps fill up fast. Scherer says this is because these camps have smaller enrollment, “Programs might enroll 20 or 25 children a week … and we might have 300 kids at camp that week.” He emphasizes that doesn’t mean other campers have missed out. These activities are still open; they just don’t get as much focus. For example, instead of a full week concentrating on horseback riding, “They could make daily choices to go on a ride and take a mini lesson.”
The waterfront is very popular because there are a multitude of activities. “Of course on a nice summer day this beautiful waterfront is a popular place. You can go down there and do different activities all day.” Scherer mentions windsailing as an example.
He continues to say that campers “spend a lot of time giving each program a try. I think part of the charm of this place is that they can introduce themselves to new programs…if they like them they can do them again and if not they can move on to something else.”
In support of parenting styles that encourage children to learn to make their own choices, Camp Anokijig also gives campers plenty of time to socialize and be kids. Scherer says, “We have free periods where it is like being in a shopping mall. Just like all the stores would be open, all the program activities are going. There are 125 to 160 staff members throughout the camp running the programs and supervising.”
Scherer invites parents and potential campers to take a tour of Camp Anokijig. “Visit us, meet us, walk with our senior staff,” he says. “This gives a little more of a comfort level. This also makes it better for the child who is going to this place they’ve never been before. Now they have seen the place and made a new friend.”
There are many things to consider when looking into a camp. Scherer knows safety is very important. Camp Anokijig ensures that all staff has extensive training.
There is a large group of returning staff who grew up at Camp Anokijig as campers. Camp Anokijig has full-time staff members with 100 years of accumulated experience.
Scherer adds, “We always have two full time medical staff on the property in the event of first aid needs…also for children who have medical needs or special needs. A number of our staff are first responders in terms of first aid. All of our senior staff have first aid and CPR. We are also accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA).” The ACA has around 300 different items they thoroughly inspect.
Camp Anokijig registration is under way. The easiest way to register is online. Calling 800-741-6931 is another option, You can also download a form off the website and mail it.
Charity R. Bartley Howard lives in Central Indiana with her husband and two young sons. With degrees in journalism and English, she began her career in newspapers where she was a lifestyles editor. Her experience includes a wide variety from writing press releases to book reviews and editing articles and manuscripts.
Photos courtesy of Camp Anokijig